iSpa: privacy, well-being and health on Apple’s menu

On the occasion of its WWDC 2021 conference, Apple in particular put the package to continue to forge a pro-privacy image and concerned with the well-being of its users. Starting with features designed to provide more control over the use of personal data by applications. These novelties concern the new versions of the operating systems of the Cupertino company unveiled during the event: iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey and watchOS 8.

Pro-privacy features

Among these privacy protection features, let’s mention the one that adorns the Mail app, which is equipped with protection against tracking enabled by pixel hiding techniques within sent emails. The sender will not be able to know when the recipient opens an email. The feature also masks its IP address, preventing it from being linked to its online activity or determining its location. This privacy protection is in addition to the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) anti-tracking functionality delivered in a recent update of iOS 14.5. Apple also announces that basic voice interactions with Siri are now handled only on the device, for example requests such as launching an app, setting a timer or an alarm, changing a setting or controlling listening to music. In addition, iCloud + welcomes the “Hide My Email” feature, which allows “to share unique and random email addresses that link to their personal inbox in order to maintain the confidentiality of their personal email address”. The function is directly integrated into Safari, iCloud settings and Mail.

Limit sources of distraction

The apple brand also offers new products that promote concentration and limit sources of distraction. Enough to integrate Apple devices in an approach focused on the employee experience (read our report on this topic). The “Concentration” functionality allows you to adjust in a personalized way, or according to the suggested choices, a filter of notifications and contacts. “Once defined, the feature leverages on-board intelligence to suggest a list of people and apps authorized to send notifications. The Concentration suggestions vary depending on the context, such as working hours or approaching bedtime, ”the statement from Apple read.

Mindfulness via Apple Watch

With watchOS 8, Apple’s connected watch offers new features focused on physical activity and well-being. In this context, the Breathe app becomes the Mindfulness app and offers a new type of session: Reflection. This displays messages such as “Remember a time when you felt a sense of calm. Try to relive it now. ” or “Think of something you are grateful for and find out why it is so important to you.” The objective being, as we will have understood, to create a positive state of mind. This mediation assistant is part of a fundamental trend concerning the boom in the use of more devices to listen to one’s body (see also: After objects, connected bodies).

Sharing of health data and file for information related to Covid

The privacy on which Apple is positioned also concerns the sharing of health data. The iOS 15 Health app includes a useful tab to configure this sharing confidentially with doctors or healthcare teams, as well as relatives. “For example, an elderly parent can share their activity or heart data with relatives, a partner can choose to share their fertile period, or a person with Parkinson’s disease can share their mobility data with their physiotherapist” , explains the Cupertino company.

Note that the iOS 15 Health app also offers the possibility of keeping their medical record of immunity to Covid-19 and their test results. According to Apple, a medical or vaccination center can authorize a patient to download this information, verifiable from a web browser or from a QR code.

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